For the course of 2014, health stakeholders in Brussels feared the impact of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on health research. MEPs seeking to limit the influence of insurance companies and other major players in data imposed strict conditions on the transfer of health data and its very use. This would also apply to medical researchers all over Europe.
The ICT infrastructures and tools that the Human Brain Project (HBP) is developing will catalyse the way neuroscience research will be done in the near future, concluded an independent panel of 19 experts, mandated by the European Commission, after the first annual review meeting of the Human Brain Project (HBP) in January 2015.
On 4 February 2014 the Health committee (ENVI Committee) of the European Parliament published the draft report of the Own-initiative report entitled “Safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance” (2014/2207(INI)).
Following the announcement last year by the President of the European Commission of a ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments’ designed to stimulate the European economy, in January 2015 it materialised that of the €21 billion committed to the stimulus package, € 2.7 billion would be taken from the Horizon 2020 budget (which is around €80 billion) over 5 years.
In the last months, the MedTech and Pharma industry have demonstrated an increasing interest in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the trade agreement that, since July 2013, is being negotiated between the EU and the US.
On the occasion of the last Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council meeting under the Italian Presidency, on 1 December 2014, and following the launch by the Commission last May of a public consultation on the review of the Europe 2020, Ministers exchanged views on the significant contribution that investments in health systems can make to the goals of the EU's growth strategy.
On 18 November 2014, EU “Guidelines on ePrescriptions dataset for electronic exchange under Cross-Border Directive 2011/24/EU” were published. Developed by the eHealth Network set up by the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, these guidelines are non-binding and apply to prescriptions for medicinal products only.
On 1 December 2014, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council adopted conclusions on innovation for the benefit of the patients. These conclusions follow the debate at the informal meeting of ministers for health in Milan on 22-23 September, where they agreed that patients should benefit from new therapies at affordable prices and that innovation in the Pharma sector has to be supported.
On 17 February 2014 the European Commission made new appointments to the European Research Council (ERC), the European funding organisation for frontier research which selects researchers to run five-year projects in Europe.
Following the publication of the results of the consultation on mHealth in Europe in January 2015, the European Commission is due to start consultations and discussions with stakeholders on the options for policy actions (legislation, self- or co-regulation, policy guidelines, etc.) to address the identified areas of concern. These, as shown by results of the consultation include privacy, security, user safety, standards and interoperability, the need for clinical evidence and reimbursement models. In this regard, the mHealth Summit Europe taking place during the eHealth Week (Riga, May 2015) under the auspices of the Latvian presidency of the Council of the European Union will provide a good frame for discussion. That both the European Commission and the current presidency of the Council are paying special attention to mHealth shows that this is a topic of increasing relevance in the EU political agenda.
Preliminary program of the scientific session organized by the Division of Fellows of the EAMBES.
In December 2014, the European Commission adopted its work programme for 2015.
From 1 January 2015 and until June, Latvia holds, for the first time, the 6-month’s rotating Presidency of the Council. Latvia’s objectives for healthcare are in line with its global priorities: competitiveness and growth, full use of digital potential in the economy and a greater role for the European Union in the global arena.
On 1 December 2014, on the occasion of the last Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council meeting of the semester, the Council acknowledged that further discussions are needed for the Council to agree its position on the Medical Devices and In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Regulations. Indeed, little progress had been made under the Italian Presidency of the Council on these dossiers.
In September-begin October we had our yearly elections for Council Members. Three ordinary Council positions were available and the position of President Elect.
In order to faclitate the need to provide coherent instructions and guidance to EAMBES members on how to properly engage with forthcoming Horizon 2020 calls- We would like to draw your attention to the following past and future events which may be of interest:
On the occasion of the high level conference on "The Future of Europe is Science" that is taking place in Lisbon, the European Commission launched the report of the Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC). Under the title "The Future of Europe is Science", it outlines some key opportunities for Europe that could be provided by science and technology, looking ahead to the year 2030. The report, of interest for various clients, is structured around citizens' priorities, as identified by the Special Eurobarometer 419 on "Public perceptions of Science, Research and Innovation" survey published on 6 October, which found that health and medical care were seen by 55% of European citizens as the top priorities for science and technology innovation over the next fifteen years.
The Public Health bill for 2015, based on the National Health Strategy, has been presented by the Minister of Health Marisol Touraine in October. The bill was introduced in the Parliament on the 15 October and publishedon the 27 October 2014.
I. Concessions granted by Commission President elect as new European Commission approved by the European Parliament
On October 22nd 2014 the European Parliament (EP) approved the new European Commission led by Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker. Members of the European Parliament (MEP) backed the new Commission with 423 votes in favour, 209 votes against and 67 abstentions. The EPP, S&D and ALDE groups had given their support to the Commissioners, whereas the Greens, GUE/NGL, Eurosceptic and far-right MEPs had all announced they would vote against. The abstentions were from the British Conservatives and their Polish and German ECR group allies.
The Conservatives and the Liberals defeat the Socialists in French Senatorial elections - 28 September 2014
The Senate elections were held on the 28 September in France and were marked by the defeat of the Socialist Party, the current Government majority. The Conservatives and the Liberals now hold the majority in the Senate. Following this week’s victory, the Conservatives and Liberals now hold the absolute majority, with 188 Senators. The Socialists hold 151 seats. These results mark the third electoral defeat of the Government majority in 6 months (municipal elections, European elections and Senate elections). There are now 2 senators from the Front National (nationalist party).